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A La Carte

April 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew Davis ($0.99); Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace ($0.99); How to Read the Bible in Changing Times by Mark Strauss ($4.99). As always, Amazon has their monthly selection of general market books at $3.99 or less that may be worth browsing through.

Logos users will want to download the free book of the month. You may also be interested in this Tim Keller pre-pub deal.

This month’s free audiobook from Christian Audio is Kevin DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word.

Andy Stanley’s Problem with the Bible

“Andy Stanley knows the Bible. As the son of the popular Baptist pastor, Dr. Charles Stanley, he has grown up under Bible teaching and preaching. As a pastor of a very large megachurch, North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, Andy Stanley has spent much time reading and studying the Bible. So, why does it seem that Andy Stanley has a problem with the Bible on so many different levels?”

Paul Washer Snaps

This anecdote from Paul Washer cracked me up. (And, on a satirical note, In Lieu Of Sermon, Paul Washer Glares At Congregation For 43 Straight Minutes.)

I Slept with My Girlfriend — Now What?

John Piper may no longer lead a church, but he still has the heart of a pastor.

Does the Pro-Life Movement Want to Punish Women?

Russell Moore: “Regardless of whether or not Trump’s comments come from a genuine and convictional pro-life worldview, all pro-life Americans need to make this issue clear: Protecting unborn babies is not about punishing women, but punishing an industry and a culture that dehumanizes human beings.” (Denny Burk also comments.)

Drugs You Don’t Need for Disorders You Don’t Have

I enjoyed this longform article on the pharmaceutical industry and how they can bamboozle us into buying ineffective and unnecessary medications. (Note: Click the button on the bottom-right to skip the splash page.)

This Day in 1743. 273 years ago today, David Brainerd began his missionary work among the Native Americans of New Jersey. *

Speed Limit 101

This short video explains all need to know about speed limits (and why your speedometer never quite matches your GPS).

How “God’s Not Dead” Fails Christians

I guess God’s Not Dead 2 comes to theatres this weekend. In the meantime, here’s a review of the first movie that does a good job of explaining objections to the first one.

Wragg

Spiritual credibility springs from a holy and pure life. —Jerry Wragg

March 31, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include An Infinite Journey by Andrew Davis ($0.99); Love Into Light by Peter Hubbard ($0.99); The Shorter Catechism Made Simple by Andrew Conway ($0.99); The End of Reason ($2.99) and Walking from East to West ($1.99) by Ravi Zacharias; Igniting the Fire by Jake Hanson ($1.99); Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions by Ken Ham ($2.99).

Pillar New Testament Commentaries

Westminster Books is offering a great deal on the Pillar New Testament Commentary series. This is a top-notch series edited by D.A. Carson and suitable to anyone who wishes to better understand God’s Word.

My Side, Your Side, or Neither

You may benefit from this reflection on church conflict. “Both sides will convince themselves that they are more than just right; they will convince themselves that God is on their side. When the inevitable resolution comes, the ‘winners’ will rejoice in God’s vindication. Meanwhile, the ‘losers’ will consider themselves martyrs who will one day experience God’s eschatological vindication. Thus, in victory or defeat, both sides refuse to give up their claim that God was on their side.”

You Don’t Deserve This

Ray Ortlund: “So you’re a faithful pastor.  You’re walking with the Lord. You’re preaching the gospel. You’re loving the people. You’re trying to evangelize, teach, pray, be an example, lead, do your job. You’re not perfect, and you admit it, but your heart is given to the Lord. And there is a faction in your church set against you.”

Band of Bloggers

Band of Bloggers is filling up fast. If you’re at T4G (or even just in Louisville) be sure to check it out. And be sure to check out the list of free books you’ll receive…

Admit It: Atheists Have a Point

Here’s a call for honesty. “We can diminish our credibility—not to mention the perceived reasonableness of the gospel—when we fail to admit that the opposition has some decent arguments. If we underestimate the strength of the objections, or overstate our own case, we ultimately make matters worse.”

Why Don’t We Follow All the Laws?

Christians are often charged with picking and choosing the Old Testament laws they follow today. J.D. Greear explains why not all laws are equal.

This Day in 1980. 36 years ago today, John Piper published his first book, Love Your Enemies*

ICWA, Lexi, and the Worst of American History

You may have heard of Lexi, the little girl who was taken away from her foster family (who attend John MacArthur’s church). Jesse Johnson gives a summary of what happened and why it matters.

My Son’s Autism Changed Everything

There is both challenge and encouragement in this article.

Duncan

There is nothing whatsoever surprising about sin. Holiness, however, is the most surprising thing in the world. —Ligon Duncan

March 30, 2016

 

Hope for a Hopeless Marriage

This story of hope in a hopeless situation may be an encouragement to you.

The Joy and Pain of Consistent Parenting

Parenting in a nutshell: “This morning I awoke at 12:30AM to the blood-curdling screams of my two-year old daughter. She wanted a new band-aid for her toe. Her screaming fit caused her one-year old brother to wake up as well.”

6 Great Threats to the Christian Family

“The Christian family is under constant assault. Western hemisphere Christians have awakened to this reality in recent years as Western nations embrace everything from homosexual union as marriage, to legally forbidding parents from disciplining their own children, to restricted parental rights regarding health care. As serious as these issues remain, some of the deadliest enemies of the Christian family come from within rather than from without.”

Preaching or Counseling?

Pastors and church leaders would do well to read and consider Ed Welch’s article on preaching and counseling.

Four Warnings for Your Twenties

“The same temptations that were murdering the believers under Moses are waging a spiritual war against believers today: entertainment, sexual immorality, impatience, and contentment. … These four warnings were lived out by Israel, but meant by God for you, and for me.”

This Day in 1661. 355 years ago today, Presbyterian preacher and author Samuel Rutherford died. *

Are You a Self-Starter, But Not a Self-Finisher?

It’s a question that’s well worth asking yourself. If you don’t know the answer, ask a few people who know you well. (I recently had some trusted friends tell me something very similar to this.)

5 Ways To Protect Your Kids At Church

All of these ought to be implemented in every church.

Exercising an Idle Mind

I’m really enjoying Kelly Needham’s writing these days. “Most days my mind is ready and active to tackle the challenge of overanalyzing any situation, whether it be my marriage, my children, recent conversations or exchanges I had with so-and-so, future plans, and more. There’s never a lack of things to think about. But an idle, purposeless thought life creates a downward spiral of self-focused thoughts and fantasies about problems that aren’t yet in existence. An idle mind can very often be the devil’s playground.”

Watson

One scandalous hypocrite makes the world suspect that all professors are so. —Thomas Watson

March 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson ($2.99); Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine ($2.99); Doxology and Theology by Matt Boswell ($2.99); Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job by Hugh Ross ($2.99); Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax ($2.99). New from GLH Publishing is Walking with God by Richard Baxter which is starting out at $0.99.

Ligonier is offering this month’s issue of Tabletalk as a free download in various formats. It deals with the timely subject of Islam.

15 Reflections from My 15 Years of Experience as a Pastor

Brian Najapfour offers up 15 excellent reflections based on his 15 years of pastoring.

Faithlessness Shrinks You Down To a Grasshopper

Trevin Wax: “Thinking too little of God sometimes leads you to think too little of yourself. For years, I thought it was the other way around. I always thought that seeing God as big meant I needed to see myself as small. Or, to put it another way, the bigger my vision of God grows, the more my vision of myself will shrink. Wrong.”

Will Phoebe Have Down’s Syndrome in Heaven?

This is a short but powerful reflection in which a father answers his son.

The Hardest Thing About Being a Missionary

It turns out that the hardest thing about being a missionary is also the hardest thing about being a pastor. That leads this pastor/missionary to a meditation on loving people even when it is difficult.

Love and Entitlement

Over the last little while, Melissa has been penning a lot of small articles like this one that reflect on the nature of true love compared to versions that are fraudulent or ridiculous. This time it’s “making sure that our relationships are about US getting what WE want, and if the other person can’t deliver on our list of demands, then they just aren’t worthy of us.”

This Day in 1788. 228 years ago today, evangelist and hymn writer Charles Wesley died. *

Homophobia Has No Place in the Church

“Simply put, homophobia means a fear of homosexuality and, more specifically, homosexual people. And while it is not the same as loving, biblical opposition to certain behaviors or beliefs, this fear-based attitude often leads to unhelpful stereotypes, prejudice, and even cruel mistreatment. So let’s call a spade a spade. Homophobia exists, and it has no place in the church.”

How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root

The Washington Post has a long and interesting explanation of how Hillary Clinton’s email scandal began and took root.

Syria and My Prayerlessness

I think we have all had these moments: “My heart sank on Sunday morning when someone prayed aloud for the Syrian refugees. I had forgotten all about them.” I appreciate Laura Booz’s reflection and determination.

Greear

In the Bible we find no gap between the call to follow Jesus and the call to engage in mission. —J.D. Greear

March 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 titles by Philip Ryken: Grace Transforming, Kingdom Come!, and Loving Jesus More at $1.99 each. Also consider the brand new book Expository Apologetics by Voddie Baucham which is just $2.99 for a few days.

Logos users will want to vote in the championship round of March Madness (vote Packer!) and check out the 50% off deals for those who were eliminated in round 5.

10 Common Ways Churches Get Off Mission

Jared Wilson: “The Lord has called his people to be on gospel mission for the sake of his glory. Most churchfolk will readily acknowledge this, and yet many churches have drifted away — often subtly — from thinking of themselves as missionaries in their respective communities and beyond. Here are some common ways churches engage in ‘mission drift.’”

On Disney, Dreams, and the Dream to Come

I can identify with this report on a visit to Disney World. “You see, Disney was very magical. And also very not. My husband and I spent most of the time parenting our way through it. We went to Disney World and my sin came out. Big time.”

Three Biblical Practices for Prayer

“Jesus was in the habit of praying. And if it was important to him, it’s important to us. Though we can find many lessons throughout the Bible on how to pray, here are just three elements of prayer that we can put into practice now.”

Suicide Bomber Kills 65

You may have heard about a suicide bomber devastating a Christian gathering in Pakistan. Christianity Today reports.

Beware of Quicksand

This is a good reflection on one of those little moments of danger in life and marriage.

This Day in 1937. 79 years ago today, a nervous Billy Graham preached his first sermon. *

How Do the Sacraments Help Us?

R.C. Sproul explains how the sacraments help us.

The Unappreciated Blessing of Busyness

Is busyness always a bad thing? Not necessarily, depending how you define it.

Doriani

Spiritual authority depends more on care given than on power wielded. —Daniel Doriani

March 26, 2016

Kindle deals today include The Story of God’s Love for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($1.99); It’s Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke ($1.99); Saved Without A Doubt by John MacArthur ($2.99); Song of a Suffering King by J.V. Fesko ($2.99); God’s Love and The Work of Christ by R.C. Sproul ($1.99 each); How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot ($1.99).

History Today: George Whitefield Founds an Orphanage

This is actually History Tomorrow now, but it’s a good overview of Whitefield’s orphanage.

Don’t Like Diversity? You’ll Hate Heaven

The title about says it all, doesn’t it?

A Horribly Beautiful Friday

Paul Tripp: “At the center of a biblical worldview is this radical recognition: the most horrible thing that ever happened was the most beautiful thing to ever happen.”

AIRTIME

“Set in the desert of Dubai, the urban spaces of Hongkong or the stunning landscapes of Hawaii, ‘AIRTime’ is a 4K drone film, which chronicles a mix of travel experiences filmed across 12 countries over 7 months.” It is stunning.

Tomorrow in 1536. 480 years ago tomorrow, Swiss Protestants in Strassbourg and Constance signed the First Helvetic Confession. *

Bringing Their Faith to Work

WORLD has an article about and for public school teachers who bring their faith to work.

We Will Live Again

This 12-minute video shows the work of the Cryonics Institute as they attempt to preserve bodies for a future where they will be able to revive them and reverse the effects of disease and aging. There are all kinds of spiritual lessons to draw from it!

Thanks to This Week’s Sponsor

Thanks to Tabletalk for sponsoring the blog this week. Get a free trial and CD set on Islam now.

Edwards

The resurrection of Christ is the most joyful event that ever came to pass. —Jonathan Edwards

March 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Cold-Case Christianity ($1.99) and God’s Crime Scene ($3.99) by J. Warner Wallace; The Jesus Storybook Bible and Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones ($1.99 each); Long Story Short and Old Story New by Marty Machowski ($2.99 each).

When I Didn’t Love My Adopted Child

I appreciated this honest bit of writing. “That maternal instinct God gives mothers is an incredible force for good—and something I didn’t have with our adopted daughter like I have with my other kids.”

What Do Expiation and Propitiation Mean?

Let Dr. Sproul explain those important terms which are especially appropriate to consider on Good Friday.

How To Preach A Terrible Easter Sermon

“Like the spirits who plagued the Demoniac, my mistakes in Easter-preaching have been legion. The subject is always lively, but the preaching is sometimes grave! So in a deeply ironical tone, neither to be copied or encouraged, here are seven ways to preach a terrible Easter sermon. Please, I beg of you, do not try this in your pulpit this Sunday.”

Smithsonian Magazine’s 2015 Photo Contest

There are some pretty amazing shots in Smithsonian’s photo contest.

The Quran’s Deadly Role

Nabeel Qureshi writes for USA Today and explains “Western recruits for jihad are inspired by the literal interpretation of Muslim sacred texts. This is what we must fight.”

This Day in 1951. 65 years ago today, missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote, “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” *

How Nike lost Steph to Under Armour

You’ll probably need to be a sports fan, though not necessarily a basketball fan, to find this one interesting.

Adam Young Scores

If you enjoy the music of Adam Young (aka Owl City) you might appreciate this one-year project he has taken on. Every month he is creating a score to go along with a major event, Apollo 11 last month and the Titanic this month.

Keller

Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. —Tim Keller

March 24, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include A Simple Christianity by John MacArthur ($1.99), Resurrection by Hank Hanegraaff ($1.99), and two by Michael Kelley: Boring and Wedesdays Were Pretty Normal ($2.99 each).

Logos March Madness has come down to the final four. You can vote for your picks here: Bock vs Wright and Packer vs Marshall. You can also get 45% off authors who were eliminated in the last round.

The Message of Islam vs. The Gospel of Jesus

Don Carson, Graham Cole, Douglas Sweeney, and Harold A. Netland teamed up to write this article that compares Islam and Christianity. “Rather than trying to answer directly whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, it’s more helpful to consider similarities and differences in the beliefs of Muslims and Christians, noting areas of both agreement and disagreement.”

Shouting “Christ Is Risen!”

Vance Christie writes about William Sangster: “When he learned of the diagnosis, he made four resolutions: ‘I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain.’ Later he wrote: ‘There have been great gains already from my sickness. I live in the present. I am grateful for little things. I have more time – and use it – for prayer.’”

Christ or Chaos?

Check out this week’s deals at Westminster Books for some good deals on apologetic books for new and young believers.

Brussels Points Us to Calvary

It its own way, the tragedy in Brussels points us to Calvary.

Spider Web Time-Lapse

BBC: “We filmed a garden orb web spider building their amazing spider web in this time lapse as well as slow motion footage as they capture their first prey with it!”

Three Mistakes to Avoid in Good Friday Preaching

Pastors preparing that Good Friday message may wish to give this article a read to ensure they aren’t making these mistakes.

This Day in 1820. 196 years ago today, blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby was born. *

Abiding Beats Busywork

There is a good challenge here for pastors. And, as it happens, this passage was in my morning Bible reading, so I especially appreciated the application.

How Many Trees Are There?

How many trees are there in the world? This video takes a shot at an answer. Turns out that previous estimates were way off.

Spurgeon

Fighting sheep are strange animals, and fighting Christians are self-evident contradictions. —C.H. Spurgeon